Lichtenberg machine

Best to maybe get a group of interested people and someone who is willing to accommodate an off site venture into this project. Then liability is off MakeICT back.
This project could be posted and maybe people could set up a Saturday once a month to meet or something

Well and if yall have one and do a safe demo at the space I’m not worried about it. But as soon as it becomes a permanent resident we have to treat it as our equipment and then things get complicated

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https://youtu.be/3E12nnpWc5c

Old topic, but just ran across this article.

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Exactly why the one I started is stored until I have time to do it properly, with triple safety interlocks.

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For individual use, a simple dead man switch should be enough I would think

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A simple man would be dead I suppose…

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Dead man switch, safety interlock on the lid, GFI circuit.

I realize GFI is of limited use here. I’d be better off building in distance between HV and operator. But I’m okay with both.

Arc fault interrupt might add an additional safety factor in the case of arcing from the secondary to the primary of your HV transformer. It’s more a fire hazard than an electrocution hazard.

Coincidentally, Big Clive talks about Lichtenberg machines on his channel today:

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Lol I just came here to post this!

Please don’t fry yourself in the electronics lab, it makes it smell like barbecue.

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I have made one of these. I am an electrician, so I understand and appreciate the dangers present. That said, it still makes me nervous. I ran it via a foot switch and used wire rated for 15kV on the output. I have since scrapped it in favor of a spot welder instead. I like Big Clive’s comment that these are the same machines used in electric chairs! These are tremendously dangerous.

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So big and dangerous… we need two then?

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We just need to figure out another way to burn tree shapes into things without electricity. Challenge!

We sort of already have that but not really. The laser cutters do exactly what you said, but they use a lot of electricity.

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That’s a good point actually.

40W lasers are dangerous too. Maybe we need to build an enclosure such that the power cuts off when the lid is open. Add short detection and ventilation and you might have something there.

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We did a demo of one at Riverfest STEAM City one year. We had kids paint a path on small pieces of paper shim, the an operator placed it in an enclosure to be zap fried. Kids seemed to like watching the pattern burn into their painted path.
Foot switch operated, open air vented, clear plastic booth on plastic table, GFCI feed, electrical PPE for operator, all precautions we could think of.

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Keeping everyone in the loop. 2021 and so far in 2022, there have been 2 deaths directly due to the use of one of these machines.

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And definitely use a neon sign transformer (higher voltage but lower current at ~25KHz), rather than a microwave oven transformer (lower voltage but big current at 60Hz). Let me be clear: neither one is “safe” in that either one can kill you. But you already know this, I expect.
I was a bit surprised that there are Lichtenberg machine kits available on Amazon. I won’t put the listing here, but I will show the accompanying photo: